Live Linear TV Drops: Only 39% Go There First

What do TV viewers look at first when they switch on their sets? According to new data from Hub Entertainment Research, only 39 percent start out with live linear TV from a pay TV service, a decline from 47 percent last year.

Today, 48 percent of viewers are more likely to start their viewing with a time-shifted or on-demand option, such as Netflix, Hulu, or a DVR.

Viewers have more options than ever, and live TV is no longer the go-to. Hub finds that the average viewer now has 4.5 different video options to choose from—such as live, DVR, on-demand content, Netflix, Hulu, and more—a rise from 3.7 options in 2014. Hub notes that 50 percent of adults 18- to 34-years-old subscribe to two or more of the three most popular subscription services (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon).

Live viewing is down in all age groups. While 56 percent of viewers 55-years-old and above still start out with live TV, that’s a drop from 66 percent last year. And for young adults (age 18 to 34), only 26 percent start out with live TV (a drop from 35 percent last year).

“Watching TV shows live when they air is quickly becoming a relic of times gone by,” says Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “The majority of younger consumers already consider services like Netflix their TV home base, but even older consumers are beginning to make on-demand sources their first stop for viewing. And all of that naturally has huge implications for an industry that’s already in a constant state of disruption—implications for how TV content is monetized generally, how ads are served up—not to mention how live TV services and vMVPDs, which have been touting their live TV networks, need to position themselves in the future.”

This data from Hub’s report Decoding the Default, which uses data from a June survey of 1,933 U.S. consumers with broadband connectivity who watch at least 1 hour of TV each week.